Saturday, December 31, 2011

Belk Bowl

On Tuesday the Wolfpack came to town!  It was the Belk Bowl, woohoo.  We love any opportunity to watch our Pack play and guess what?  THEY WON!  We had the amazing opportunity to go to the game with some of our friends from NCSU and my parents tagged along too.  I was so excited because since we don't all live in the same area I don't get to see my State buddies very often.  Michael and Leslie live in Chattanooga (you should go check out her blog) and Kyle lives in Raleigh.  Brandon's sister, Brittany, was also in town for break!  I love getting to see all of them!  It was a chilly night, so we were all bundled up like giant marshmallows.  We tailgated with the never failing Bojangles, played cornhole, and cheered the Pack to victory.  It was a great night full of food, friends, family, football, and fun!



 

this building in downtown lights up different colors for the teams




 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Top Eleven in Twenty Eleven

I cannot believe we are already saying Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012.  This past year feels like a blur, but it was full of so many amazing moments and true blessings with a spattering of some unavoidable low points.  We embarked on the journey of homeownership, adopted a new little one, celebrated one another's successes and comforted each other in the hardships.  We have met many new people and have worked through the exit of others.  We have grown up in many ways while still finding time to play.  We grew closer in our marriage and learned more about one another.  We examined the past and planned for the future all while holding close to each other.

I think at the end of the year it is important to reflect on the last 365 days in order to prepare for the next 365, both the good and the bad.  I am a firm believer that our past moments are stepping stones for the future.  Even though I recognize and learn from the low moments, I like to focus on the best moments and carry that joy into the new year.  When you truly realize the amount of blessings in your life your complaints slowly diminish.  So here we go, my top eleven moments of 2011 (in no particular order).

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What are some of your favorite memories from 2011?

Also, don't forget to join us for the 21 Day Challenge to bring in the New Year!  "Sign up" by Dec. 31 to participate!

Monday, December 26, 2011

21 Day Challenge






This time of year, most of us tend to think...ok, starting January 1st, I'm going to lose ______ pounds, eat healthier, take time for _______, do this and that. There is nothing wrong in any of those things, especially in setting goals for yourself.  The only problem is, at least for me, I set these goals and have no one to encourage me, no accountability and they just end up by the wayside.  I'm sure this is not a problem for anyone else, right?  That's what I thought.  We all struggle to hold strong to our goals and resolutions that the new year always brings.  That's why I am partnering up with 2 beautiful women (who are also NC State grads, can't go wrong there :) to offer you the opportunity to join us in the 21 Day Challenge.  I, along with Leslie from The Dearmans and Amy from Fit New Mama, are linking up to pose the 21 day challenge to work on holistic goals, including spiritual and physical health.  This is an opportunity for us to join together as one community to encourage each other in 2012!  Doesn't that sound like a fun way to start off the new year. We can all do 21 days...that is only 3 weeks!

First and foremost, to start off our new year, we need to seek our Lord. This past fall, Leslie went through the book How to Pray in 28 Days by Kay Arther and it sparked the idea behind this whole thing. She began thinking of the importance for us to pray, pray specifically, pray correctly, and pray together as believers. I am also going to work on this through the new year.  Praying for each other and praying consistently are two things I definitely want to work on.  In order to do this we have formed a group through youversion.com that we would love for you all to join. It will include 21 days of scripture that focuses on prayer, whether through examples or by what Christ has to say about prayer. I can't think of a better way to bring in 2012 than by praying specifically for our walks with Christ, our family, our friends, our nation, and for others to know Him.

Secondly, lets get our bodies in check, physically and nutritionally. I'm not asking you to lose a pound or stop eating _______, but to serve the Lord in this aspect of your life. Whether you are a mom, sister, friend, wife or whatever, we all have a reason to live a healthy lifestyle. We will be using myfitnesspal.com. You can set your own goals whatever they may be and make it a priority to be healthy.  After all, we all know what a marriage does for our waistlines, just me, ok fine.  

Who knows maybe we will be one strong accountability community!!!

Ok...so you are in right???

All you need to do is leave a comment including your name and email address to show us that you are interested in joining us for this 3 week journey through spiritual and bodily health. Feel free to list this on your blog as well to get others involved and be sure to add our button to your post, found above. No matter where you are in life, let's bring in the New Year together!  After all it is only 21 days . We can encourage each other for 21 days right??  I will send you all an email on December 31st with links to join our groups. Woohoo!

*Partnering with Amy at Fit New Mama and Leslie at The Dearmans.*





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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

Born Is the King (It's Christmas) by Hillsong on Grooveshark

Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 


Luke 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Friday, December 23, 2011

DIY Deco Mesh Wreath


 So, as promised in my last post, we finished our wreath!  We bought the basic green wreath from Michaels for a low price of $12.50.  What a steal!  In order to spruce it up a bit we decided to go for the deco poly-mesh.  It is really popular right now and makes a fun and easy DIY project.  

Here's what you need:
  • 1 wreath- we bought a large one to go over our mantle.  It has full greenery around it, but you can just buy a frame or one with less greenery
  • 1 roll of Deco Poly-Mesh- we bought ours at a local Christmas shop for about $11.  It is red with metallic silver thread through it

That's it!  

Instructions:
1. Start on the outer ring of the wreath.  Pull out a little of the mesh roll, DON'T CUT!  use the greenery on your wreath to secure the end of the mesh.  Simply twist (like a twisty tie) two "branches" of greenery together around the end of the mesh to tie down.  

2. Gather the mesh together/pinch about 6-8 inches down to make a poof and secure with branches again.  


3. Continue to gather these poofs and secure them around the outer edge of the wreath.  

4. When you reach the starting point move to the inner ring of the wreath frame.  Try to position these poofs so that they are between the poofs on the outer ring.  This eliminates whole/gaps in the mesh on the two rings.

5. When you reach the end cut the mesh and twist tie the end down.  

6 TA-DA!  You have a beautiful wreath!  Ours only cost us about $25.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fa La La La La

We are officially 5 days from Christmas, people, FIVE days.  I can't believe it.  We have been so busy with work and other things that Christmas has snuck up on us a bit this year.   We did decorate our house a few weeks ago.  It was so much fun!  We bought our house in March and this made our house feel new all over again.  I love building a home with Brandon and actually getting to decorate this year.  We put lights outside and of course decorated our tree.  We actually have a mantle this year, so we made the garland to go on top and got to hang our stockings over the fireplace.  We also bought a large wreath at Michael's for 50% off.  We plan to add poly-mesh to it.  It's still a work in progress and I plan on hitting the after-Christmas sales to add to our decoration collection.  Here are some of our decorations.








Poor Piper's stocking is taped to the mantle because it is impossible to find a dog stocking hanger.

On another note, we have also done some other fun Christmas-y things.  My sister and I baked our first batch of Christmas cookies, chocolate cookies with mint M&Ms.  We also had the amazing opportunity to give back this holiday season.  With our E-group at church we adopted a family through an organization called Hope Match.  We went to Target to go shopping together for our sweet family.  We were able to spend $100 on each person and give the family a $100 gift card.  I know they will be blessed through this just as much as we were as we did it.  


 




 What kinds of fun things have you all been doing this Christmas season?
 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday's Letters

Today I'm linking up again with Ashley for Friday's Letters.  She's great, you should go read her blog!

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Dear TOMS, you smell so awful right now.  I think I am going to give you a bath before it reaches the point of utter embarrassment.  Dear Students, I am so blessed to be your counselor, but come on share the Christmas love.  All of your teachers got goodies, where's mine??  Dear Christmas Break, you are here, minus the training I have to go to on Monday and Tuesday, but you are here!!!  Thank God for two weeks off from pre-pubescent drama!  Dear Husband, please go get your hair cut.  The chrome dome is nice and all, but you are starting to look like a ragamuffin.  Dear Christmas foods, stop tempting me!  You know I have the willpower of a 2 year old.  I can't resist your pound cakes, cheesecakes, cookies, and mouthwatering desserts.  Dear Bloggy friends, happy weekend!! 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Questions

I saw this idea just surfing the internet and thought it would be fun to answer some random Christmas questions.  We all have different traditions, likes and dislikes, and holiday quirks.  So here you go, my Christmas answers.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? I think wrapping paper is more fun, I like ripping it off, but if it is a difficult item to wrap, then definitely baggin it.  

2. Real tree or artificial? DEFINITELY real tree.  I grew up having real trees.  I love the smell and going to pick it out (even if it is from Home Depot).  
 
Last year's tree, more to come on this year's
 
3. When do you put up the tree? AFTER THANKSGIVING, not a moment before.  This is a big thing for me.  I like to celebrate Thanksgiving and then move on to Christmas. 

4. When do you take the tree down? We take it down after New Year's.  I like to have a good month or so to enjoy it. 

5. Do you like eggnog? NO, GROSS.  I much prefer hot tea, hot chocolate, or apple cider.



6. Hardest person to buy for?Brandon and my dad.  Men are so difficult!

7.. Easiest person to buy for? My sister is pretty easy to shop for.  I know what she likes and she doesn't hesitate to tell me what she wants.

8.. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail.  I love opening the mail and seeing fun Christmas cards to open.

9. Favorite Christmas movie? Elf!  I'm not into the cheesy Christmas movies, but Elf is so cute.


10. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I'm usually late.  Maybe middle of December we start.  I know, I know.

11. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? My parents always make steak dinner and Brandon's mom makes lots of little fun desserts like mint brownies, peanut butter balls, and fudge.  Oh, and Brandon always makes his delicious french toast Christmas morning!



12. Clear lights or colored lights on the tree? Growing up, we had colored lights, but Brandon and I decorate in all white.  I like the wintery feeling of white lights.  (more pictures to come of our decorations!)

13. Favorite Christmas song? I love Oh Holy Night.  It's such a powerful song and such a testament to what Christmas is all about.  

14. Travel at Christmas or stay home? We always stay home.  Both of our families live here, so no need to travel.  Although, I really want to travel somewhere tropical one year for Christmas in the sun.


15. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Both.  We have my extended family's celebration on Christmas Eve, but immediate families on Christmas day. 

16. Favorite festive event?I love going to the Christmas Eve service at church.  It is a great way to enter the day and to celebrate our Savior's birth!  Plus, they always have really fun creative elements. This year's theme is Code Orange Christmas.
 
 
17. What do you want for Christmas this year? I would love to have an iPhone, but I know those are ridiculously expensive, so what I really need is work clothes, boots, a coat, and new shoes.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My Awkward Love Story



Hey everyone!  I'm over HERE today at Basil sharing my awkward, but amazing love story.  You should go check it out.  K, thanks. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Inconvenience Me



Last week I was privileged to attend Ladies Night at my church.  It was a night geared towards connecting, encouraging, and pouring into the women.  Our campus pastor's wife spoke on the topic of asking God to inconvenience us, asking God to open our eyes to opportunities to speak life into others.  

The way she said it, inconvenience me, made me think about something.  How many times have I missed the opportunity to bless someone or to pour into someone because it was out of my way, I didn't have time...it was inconvenient.  I believe that God moves when life gets hard, when it's not easy.  God moves when we sacrifice ourselves, our time for Him, for His time, His purpose.  If we learn to open our eyes to see the favor God has placed in our life we can open our eyes to opportunity.  When we recognize our strengths we can use them for the good of others.  

No, it may not always be convenient.  It may be as we're leaving the office for the day, it may be when you're in a hurry, or as you are walking out of church on your way to lunch.  You never know what situation a person is going through, even if you think you know them.  Your time, your words, your presence could show the love of Christ and change their life forever. 

I pray that the Lord would inconvenience me.  In my job, in my church, in my every day life, inconvenience me Lord.  I want to see the opportunities around me to show favor to others, to be a light into the darkness that is some people's existence.  Use me Lord and help me to recognize those opportunities and to never let them pass me by.   

Monday, December 5, 2011

Did you know that...

I found this idea from Bailey over HERE and thought it was a cute and fun way to share some little things about me.  Hopefully you will join the fun on your own blog and I can read all about each of you.

Did you know that...

I am one-sixteenth Native American?  

My red hair, fair skin, and blue eyes totally gives it away, I know.  My great-grandmother on my dad's side was Native American.  I don't think any of those tan genes were shared with me, bummer.
 


I speak Spanish.  I am not completely fluent, but I can speak well enough to hold a conversation.  I got a minor in Spanish in college and studied abroad in Peru.  It comes in handy all the time in my job.

I really need to write a post about Peru.  It is an amazing country and this trip was one of the best experiences of my life.  I even got to backpack the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu!

I have to sleep on the right side of the bed (looking at the bed), even if it is just me.  It just feels weird on the other side.


I love sports and spend more time watching sports with the boys than shopping with the girls, in most cases.  

I've typically found that boys are easier to get along with than girls too, so it works out.  


Brandon and I both used to work at a movie theater. 

Yes, I used to work in the concession stand.  Sometimes I miss that job, the simplicity and fun.  Oh and the free movies.
 I hate flying in airplanes.
The only problem is...I love to travel.  It is a necessary evil that I must get to my destinations by air. 

I have insanely large feet.
It's true.  Size eleven.  It's so hard to find shoes that fit and that don't make my feet look like boats.  I'm only 5'5, so I just say I have a strong foundation.

I hope you all will join the fun and create a post with some fun facts.  I love getting to know each of you!!  Happy Monday Friends!
 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Project 31 Day 14: Style 31

Day 14.  Style 31.  Post an outfit pic!





First, please forgive the awful photo.  I just had to self-take it since I don't have a tripod or anyone else to take it.  Piper also decided she wanted to sneak in :)  So this is Style 31, post an outfit pic.  This is one of my go-to outfits for fall/winter.  It is comfy and easy.  The sweater is from Forever21, jeans from Old Navy.  The gray slouchy boots are my favorite!  I don't really have an immaculate closet, so whatever I can put together works.  I'm hoping to get more clothes for Christmas, so that I can share more outfits.  

What is your favorite fall/winter outfit?? 


On another note, last night we got all dressed up and headed to Brandon's company Christmas party at the Westin.  I look forward to it every year.  Any opportunity to wear a pretty dress, right?  They had good food, lots of desserts, and a live band.  It was great to meet some of Brandon's coworkers and their wives.  What kind of Christmas parties are y'all going to this year?


Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday's Letters


Dear Elevation, thanks for being an amazing church and for investing in the women of our church last night.  I am so blessed to be a part of such an uplifting church.  Dear Christmas Break, please come a little quicker.  I love my job, but I am in need of rest, relaxation, and a non-middle school drama holiday.  Dear Charleigh, you are so stinkin' cute when you run sideways like a monkey.  Do that more often, k thanks.  Dear Kitchen, I think I need to hire a maid just for you.  Your dirtiness is out of control.  No matter how many times I clean you, you are dirty again 5 minutes later.  Dear Christmas shopping, how about you take care of yourself this year.  Finding gifts for all of my family members, who are some of the hardest people to shop for in the world, proves a difficult task.  Dear husband, thanks for running to the store last night at 10:00 when I realized I forgot to pick up my breakfast items for a work party this morning.  You are the best.  


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Drum Roll Please


Ok girls it's time to announce the winner of my very first giveaway, so excited!  I was so pumped about it that I had my hubby make a fun vlog for you to announce the winner, he is so goofy.  You even get a sneak of Piper (trying to eat the winner, what's new).  So...drum roll please..........

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The winner of the new Elevation Worship album is k. elizabeth from A Million Little Somethings.  Congratulations!!  I can't wait for you to listen to the album!  Please send me your mailing address to cfbrown814@gmail.com and I will put it in the mail to you!  WOOOHOOO!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Last Chance



Today is your last chance to enter my GIVEAWAY.  I will announce the winner tomorrow! Happy hump day friends!

Monday, November 28, 2011

It Takes Courage


I was sitting at dinner the other night at one of my favorite restaurants with my sweet hubby sitting across from me.  He was making good conversation and it was a great night.  I couldn't help but notice, I was feeling stressed.  I told Brandon that I was feeling stressed.  When he asked why, I said I don't know.  The problem was, I knew exactly why.  I was thinking about those people who had hurt me in the past.  You know, the ones you thought would be there for you forever, but weren't.  Yeah, we all have these people in our lives.  I quite frequently find myself thinking back to those moments.  The ones that changed my life forever.  The ones that changed me forever.  That brought me back to reality and the fact that people are fallible.  

I saw the above quote on Pinterest after dinner and it resonated so loudly with my situation.  I was vulnerable with these people.  It took a lot.  Since that time period, I find that I am more guarded, less apt to be vulnerable.  I'm afraid to share my deepest feelings.  When I saw this quote I instantly knew why.  It took courage to share my pain.  I was vulnerable and raw.  I opened myself up, but the courage was not recognized.  Why does it take so much courage to show our feelings?  I wish it didn't.  I wish our feelings didn't make us feel ashamed.  Feelings are God's mirror to our souls.  Please handle them with care.  

These relationships are cracked and part of me wants to repair them, but the courage is gone.  I think about it all of the time.  I want so badly to be able to build this courage again, to be able to let my guard down and dive into the depths of friendship, but I am scared.  I find that I am doubting myself and my feelings of discomfort scream so loudly.  There is hope though.  Through this situation I have found that my courage should come from Christ and with this I find my inner strength.   

So friends, if someone comes to you with any feeling, you may not agree and may not know how to respond, regardless, remember to recognize the courage.  For courage is easily squashed and often the trust to reveal our feelings is quick to go with it.      

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On a completely different note, go enter my GIVEAWAY.  There are only a few entries so your chances of winning are very, very high. 

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